WHEATFIELD | The Times No. 7 Lowell was a road warrior at No. 10 Kankakee Valley on Friday night in the Northwest Crossroads Conference opener for both teams.
Led by 5-foot-2 senior dynamo Sarah Wieser, the Red Devils (6-0, 1-0 NCC) remained unbeaten with a 43-33 victory in hostile environs. Wieser filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Sydney Barta had her way inside with 10 points and nine boards.
Lowell coach Matt Welsh said everyone played well.
“We only played seven kids tonight, and I thought that was the biggest key besides our point guard (Wieser) playing great again,” he said. “She’s just been absolutely so steady.
“She made some poor decisions down the stretch, but, oh my goodness. She really controlled the tempo of the game.”
Wieser said they played together as team and kept working hard.
“We just came out and fought for it,” she said. “We wanted it more than them I think.”
The game turned when Lowell turned a 13-10 deficit after one quarter to a 24-14 halftime advantage, holding K.V. to just one point in the second period.
“We were keeping the ball moving around and spread out the floor,” Wieser said. “We knew had to break that 1-3-1 (zone) because of practice.”
K.V. (3-3, 0-1) battled throughout the second half and kept it close and trailed 33-25 with eight minutes left. It made several runs in the fourth and got within six points on two occasions
Lauren Stokes, who led all scorers with 17 points, hit a runner in the lane to cut it to 38-32 and later added a free throw to stay within 39-33 with 3:16 left. The Kougars could get no closer the rest of the way.
“We were out of rhythm tonight, and credit to Lowell,” K.V. coach Ryan Myers said. “They stayed in that 3-2 zone and really forced us into some tough angles.
“I thought our defense in the second half was better. Just offensively we couldn’t score the basketball, and the second quarter was the big reason for that.”
Wieser canned 3 of 4 free throws in the final minute to wrap up the big win.
“I thought our girls played great defensively, and we rebounded better in the second half,” Welsh said.